- DOC Number: 1100057.
- Inmate Number: 364382.
- Venue: City of Richmond.
- Capital murder of Bryan Harvey (murder in the commission of robbery or attempted robbery).
- Capital murder of Bryan Harvey, Kathryn Harvey, Stella Harvey, and Ruby Harvey (murder of more than one person as part of the same act or transaction).
- Capital murder of Bryan Harvey, Kathryn Harvey, Stella Harvey, and Ruby Harvey (murder of more than one person within a three-year period). 
- Capital murder of Ruby Harvey (murder of a four year old while 21 years of age or older).
- Capital murder of Stella Harvey (murder of a nine year old while 21 years of age or older).
- Current Location: Sussex I State Prison.
- Status: Petition for writ of certiorari challenging the Supreme Court of Virginia’s affirmation of death sentence denied.
- As of: January 14, 2008.
Summary of crime:
From Gray v. Commonwealth [emphasis mine throughout]:
On the morning of January 1, 2006, Kathryn and Bryan Harvey and their two daughters, Stella and Ruby, were killed in the Harveys’ home in the City of Richmond. Firefighters, responding to a call that the Harveys’ home was burning, discovered the bodies of Kathryn and Ruby in the basement as they attempted to fight the fire. The house was filled with “black smoke” and the basement was burning and had “[z]ero visibility and a lot of heat.” Soon after the firefighters removed the bodies of Kathryn and Ruby from the basement, they determined that the bodies showed evidence of “battle signs” and that the victims’ legs had been bound. At that point the firefighters stopped their rescue efforts and summoned the police.
Detective Dwyer of the Richmond Police Department then discovered Stella in the basement under a futon “with her hands behind her back, tape around her mouth.” Bryan was discovered on the floor of the basement with orange electrical cord wrapped around his wrists and feet, with “melted tape around his face [and a] large wound to his neck area.” Detective Dwyer also found two claw hammers, two broken wine bottles, a knife handle and a separate knife blade in the basement. Those items, as well as several photographs of the scene, were admitted into evidence at trial.
An autopsy revealed that Bryan had been cut eight times in his neck and underneath his chin, and those wounds, although “[v]ery painful,” were not immediately fatal. His mouth had been gagged and taped. Six lacerations were made to the left side and back of Bryan’s skull, each caused by blows from a hammer. He experienced severe third degree burns to his skin. Bryan died from the wounds to his skull.
Kathryn had been cut three times in her neck and chest, once in her back, and those wounds caused bleeding and pain but were not fatal. Multiple lacerations were made to Kathryn’s skull as a result of blows from a hammer. The hammer blows caused a fracture to the plate above Kathryn’s eyes, resulting in bleeding behind her eyes. Kathryn died from the blunt force injuries to her head.
Ruby’s throat had been sliced through to her trachea, a wound that was not fatal but obstructed her breathing. Her head was also fractured and cut, causing brain tissue to exude from her skull. She had also been stabbed in the back with enough force that the knife had passed through her ribs and into her lungs. Ruby died from the blunt force injuries to her head and the stab injury to her lungs.
Stella’s neck had been cut six times, with the stab wounds having penetrated her trachea and esophagus. Stella’s head was also bludgeoned by a hammer, causing brain tissue to exude from her skull. She died from a combination of smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning and blunt force injury to her head.
Forensic evidence showed that the knife blade recovered from the Harveys’ home had traces of blood from Kathryn, Stella, Ruby and Bryan. Bryan and Stella’s DNA was discovered on the shaft of one of the recovered hammers. Kathryn’s DNA was identified on the handle of the other hammer.
Evidence at trial established that Gray, Ray Dandridge and Ashley Baskerville were driving the streets of Richmond in Gray’s van during the mid-morning of January 1, 2006 “looking for a house to rob.” Gray and Dandridge “spotted a door open” at the Harveys’ home, entered the house, and forced Kathryn, Bryan and Ruby into the basement.4 Stella was not home when Gray and Dandridge entered. In the basement, Gray assured the three family members that he and Dandridge would leave after they took what they wanted from the home. Gray then used electrical cords to tie Bryan’s wrists behind his back and bind his ankles together.
4 Gray claimed that Baskerville was asleep in the vehicle and did not participate in the crimes at the Harveys’ home.
Before Gray and Dandridge could plunder the house, they heard a noise upstairs on the home’s main level. Kiersten Perkinson, a family friend, had arrived at the Harveys’ home to deliver the Harveys’ daughter, Stella, along with Perkinson’s own daughter, Grace Lynn, from a slumber party the previous evening.
Hearing the commotion, Kathryn explained to Gray that her daughter had returned from a slumber party, so Gray permitted Kathryn to go upstairs to bring her daughter downstairs to the basement. Perkinson heard Kathryn “running up the stairs” from the basement, and upon reaching the top of the basement stairs, she appeared “pale and ashen.” Stella ran past her mother and down the stairs into the basement, but Kathryn blocked Grace Lynn’s path so she could not follow Stella downstairs. Kathryn told Perkinson that she did not feel well, so Perkinson and Grace Lynn left the house.
Downstairs, Gray bound the hands and feet of all the Harveys and placed clear packing tape over their mouths, but he assured them that everything would be okay. Gray and Dandridge then began collecting the items from the home they intended to steal. Kathryn attempted to comfort her distraught daughters, and she told Gray that he should take what he wanted and just leave. Suddenly, Gray took a razor knife and cut Kathryn’s throat and then cut the throats of the young girls and Bryan.5 When Gray saw that his victims were still moving, he took a nearby claw hammer and began repeatedly beating each of the Harveys in the head. When they stopped moving, Gray poured two bottles of wine on an easel in the basement and lit a match, starting the fire. Gray and Dandridge then left the burning home with the items they had stolen.
5 In his confession to police, Gray indicated that Dandridge “did the old man, cut him. But I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter if he did or not cause he was still alive after, [un]til I hit him with [t]he hammer.”
John Hott, a family friend of the Harveys, arrived at the Harveys’ home for a New Year’s Day party at about 1:45 p.m. and noticed smoke coming from the house. He immediately ran to a neighbor’s home and called “911”.
Less than a week later, Richmond police received a tip that Gray was a suspect in the murders, and a member of the Richmond Police Department contacted the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Police Department requesting they investigate a location where Gray may be staying and to be on the lookout for a particular vehicle believed related to the Harvey murders. In the early morning hours of January 7, 2006, Philadelphia police obtained a search warrant, and a SWAT team entered the location where Gray was suspected to be staying and found him in the basement. Gray was arrested and advised of his Miranda rights. After learning that Dandridge was also being questioned, he asked the Philadelphia police: “Can I tell you my side of the story?”
As part of a signed confession, Gray described in detail how he and Dandridge entered the Harveys’ home and attacked the Harveys, in which he stated:
[I]t was a real nasty scene. How am I suppose[d] to explain something like what happened? I started cutting their throats and they kept getting up and they [were] scaring me. I remember seeing the hammer and picking it up, and then . . . I was just hitting them all with the hammer. All I know is nobody was moving when I left out there.
Gray admitted that Dandridge spent most of this time searching the home for items to steal, and that only Gray used the hammers to attack the Harveys.
Gray stipulated at trial that Bryan’s wedding ring, as well as a cookie plate and a basket from the Harveys’ home, were discovered in a location Gray provided to police, who also recovered from Gray a computer stolen from the Harveys’ home. Gray also stipulated that the boots found at the residence in Philadelphia belonged to him. Bryan and Stella’s blood stains were discovered on Gray’s boots. The Commonwealth also introduced photographs of the dead bodies as exhibits during the trial, and the jury was permitted to view these exhibits. At the time of the murders, Gray was twenty-eight years old. Ruby was four years old at the time of her death, and Stella was nine years old at the time of her death.
The jurors returned a verdict of guilty as to all five capital murder counts as charged in the indictments.
In the sentencing phase, the Commonwealth introduced evidence of Gray’s criminal record, including convictions for robbery in 1996, distribution of crack cocaine in 2000, and possession of cocaine in 2002. Extensive evidence was also presented to show a history of violent acts perpetrated by Gray.
Lieutenant Daniel Stanek of the City of Washington, Pennsylvania Police Department testified about the discovery of the dead body of Gray’s wife, Treva, on November 5, 2005. Gray was questioned at the time but was not arrested for her murder. After his arrest for the murders of the Harveys in January 2006, Gray also confessed to killing his wife with the help of Dandridge by bludgeoning her to death with a lead pipe.
Detective William Brerton of the Richmond Police Department described how, also on January 1, 2006, he learned of another set of murders committed in Richmond. Executing a search warrant, police discovered the dead bodies of Percyell Tucker, his wife, Mary, and Mary’s daughter, Ashley Baskerville6, all in their home. Dr. Darin Trelka, a medical examiner, testified that the autopsy revealed Percyell’s head had been “covered with Saran Wrap,” with a sock stuffed into his mouth and duct-taped shut. Percyell probably struggled for several minutes before he died from suffocation. Mary’s mouth had been gagged, with duct tape over her eyes. Her neck and chest had been cut four times. Mary struggled several minutes before she died from suffocation. Ashley was found with a plastic shopping bag over her head and taped to her neck with duct tape. Her face was wrapped in duct tape and a sock stuffed into her mouth. Ashley also struggled for several minutes before she died from suffocation.
6 Ashley Baskerville was the third person with Gray and Dandridge on January 1 when the Harveys were murdered. During Gray’s confession to the murder of the Tuckers, Gray explained how Ashley was working with Gray and Dandridge and provided them a key to enter the Tucker residence. “She was taped up as part of the plan.”
Gray’s vehicle was discovered three blocks from the Tucker’s home, and the Tucker’s stolen vehicle was located in Philadelphia where Gray was arrested. Gray confessed to murdering the Tucker family.
Police also learned that Gray assaulted a man in Arlington, Virginia on New Year’s Eve, 2005. At the sentencing phase of Gray’s trial, Ryan Carey testified that as he arrived at his parent’s home after work on December 31, he was attacked by two men. He was forced to the ground and stabbed multiple times. Carey escaped the assault and rushed to his father’s home covered in blood. Carey’s father contacted emergency personnel, who took Carey to a hospital where his condition was stabilized. After two months of hospitalization, Carey was able to return home, although he lost the use of his right arm. Gray confessed to assaulting Carey with Dandridge’s assistance and stipulated that Carey’s blood was found on Gray’s boots.
Also testifying at the penalty phase of the trial were Mark Harvey, Bryan’s older brother, and Steven Culp, Kathryn’s older brother. Each described a loving relationship with their sibling and the devastating grief and emotional impact of the murders upon the extended families.
- “Offender Locator.” Virginia Department of Corrections 11 Oct. 2010. <http://www.vadoc.state.va.us/offenders/locator/index.cfm>. [↩] [↩] [↩]
- Gray v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 290, 645 S.E.2d 448 (2007), cert. denied, Gray v. Virginia, 552 U.S. 1151, 128 S. Ct. 1111, 169 L. Ed. 2d 826 (2008). [↩]
- Gray v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 290, 291, 645 S.E.2d 448, 451 (2007), cert. denied, Gray v. Virginia, 552 U.S. 1151, 128 S. Ct. 1111, 169 L. Ed. 2d 826 (2008). [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩]
- Gray v. Virginia, 552 U.S. 1151, 128 S. Ct. 1111, 169 L. Ed. 2d 826 (2008). [↩] [↩]
- Gray v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 290, 295-302, 645 S.E.2d 448, 452-456 (2007), cert. denied, Gray v. Virginia, 552 U.S. 1151, 128 S. Ct. 1111, 169 L. Ed. 2d 826 (2008). [↩]